The caulk around the edge of a tub works with the grout between bath tiles to prevent water from seeping into the walls and flooring below. Caulk can dry out and become brittle and crack over time reducing its effectiveness at helping to prevent water damage. In addition, if mold and mildew has grown along the caulk lines, it can be both unsightly and unhealthy. Removal of the old caulk and replacement with fresh caulk can vastly improve the appearance of your bathroom or wherever the caulk has problems with cracking or there is mold or mildew present.
Things You Will Need
Razor knife, Caulk removal tool or other tool that can be used to get under the caulk after cutting, Protective gloves, Mold & mildew killer such as X-14, Tilex or chlorine bleach if mold or mildew is present
If mold or mildew is present on the caulk, spray the affected area with a mold & mildew killer. Make sure that the area is well ventilated as the chemical fumes from the cleaners can be irritating to your lungs and eyes. Also some individuals may have their allergies affected by the fumes. It is recommended that protective gloves be worn when working with the chemicals and while removing the caulk to protect the skin from both the chemicals and the mold and mildew that may still remain after treating with the chemicals.
Begin by using a razor knife to cut along the edge of each side of the caulk line being careful not to cut into any wall covering or scratch any other adjoining surface.
After cutting, begin to remove the caulk at one end of the caulk line. You can usually get the caulk line to begin to come up by prying up the end with a small screwdriver or knife. Most times the caulk will pull up in a long strand like a piece of rope just using your hand to pull on the caulk bead. You can also use a caulk removal tool available at most hardware or home improvement stores to remove the caulk line by scraping the tool under the caulk line.
Scrap any remaining caulk from the area and clean with soap and water.
Even if mold and mildew did not seem to be present when removing the caulk, it is usually a good idea to spray the area with a mold and mildew killer to kill any residual mold or mildew and to help prevent future growth. After spraying, wipe the area clean. Let the area dry thoroughly.
You are now ready to apply new caulk to the area to reseal it to protect it from moisture and possible water damage and to improve the appearance to make the area look new and fresh.
Removal of old caulk and replacement with fresh caulk can vastly improve the appearance of your bathroom or wherever the caulk has problems with cracking or there is mold or mildew present.
Tips & Warnings
Increased ventilation in areas that are prone to mold and mildew can significantly reduce its growth. A paint scraper can be used to scrap out the caulk line as well as a wide blade screw driver or even a kitchen butter knife.
Whenever working with tools and or chemicals, safety glasses are recommended. Masks are also recommended to be worn when working with chemicals to protect your lungs.